Friday 17 December 2021

Seasonal Snippets 17/12

Personal Message from fbb

Mrs fbb has been diagnosed with severe arthritis and in the queue for a hip replacement. She is struggling with both pain and mobility so fbb, like the splendid husband that he is (modest as ever!) has taken over all driving and all significant catering. Whilst time can be made for writing blogs, even for research, the fbb performance needle ...

... is wont to drop into the red zone much earlier in the day - usually after de-coking the kitchen from last night's evening meal.
Blogging will continue on a daily basis - it does represent a relief from the rigours of domesticity, BUT quality may be low, quantity may be reduced and something beginning with q may cause delays in posting.

But the memory is as agile as it can be for an old crock of nearly 77, and an envelope from correspondent Keith brought a joy and a delight to the old man's weary psyche. It was a selection of timetable books from Go Ahead North East.

Yes, fbb did write "timetable books". The three that arrived were for North Tyne, Hexham and Consett areas. When compiling the Great Britain Bus Timetable, the north east was the area that gave the old man the most angst. Working largely from leaflets, it was difficult to put it all together geographically.

Then there was a picture in a magazine, remembered then (and, possibly still remembered) of a BR Standard 9F emitting much smoke; a picture something like this:-
fbb thought the caption read "a BR 9F fitted with an Iron Fireman Stoker for Tyne Dock to Consett ore traffic." The sainted Wikipedia might suggest that fbb's memory was lacking ...
The stokers were fitted to different locos and, probably, not used on the heavy freights. Or were they?
"Iron Fireman" was an American brand ... 
... and devices of various sizes were used to "shovel" coal into anything from domestic heating system to industrial boilers.
And, of course, 9F locomotives, where the technology was not very successful!

They used air pressure to blast the coal into the firebox.

Here is a video showing something of the heavy trains that ran from Tyne Dock up the hill to Consett.
The steel works is shown clearly on this map extract ...
... and looked like this!
And there was a lot of it. 
It is now landscaped open land and ...
A Tesco Extra!

More tomorrow.

Meanwhile ...
... cutting the costs of Christmas?

And Newcastle railway station ...
... in a gorgeous sunset, courtesy of Twitter.

 Next Consett snippet : Saturday 18th December 

The letter Q is not well used in the Bible. In the Old Testament, the Israelites were miraculously fed on Manna (Honey Rice Krispies???) and Quails whilst on their lengthy wander from Egypt to the Promised Land. Luke tells is the Quirinius was Roman Governor of Judea at the time of Jesus' birth. And that's about it.

So the Shepherds hurried off and found Mary and Joseph and saw the baby lying in the manger. When the shepherds saw him, they told them what the angel had said about the child. All who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said. Mary remembered all these things and thought deeply about them.
Mary would have had plenty of QUERIES, having met an angel, with a husband who also met an angel, with a miraculous child making her an unmarried mother, yet still accepted by hubbie Joe. But there ware more questions to come.

What would be the QUALITY of her super natural son's life? Why her? Why him? Why everything?
We know, looking back, something of the mechanism by which that "Peace, goodwill to all men with whom God is pleased" would be supplied. We know that 39-year-old Jesus' QUEST was to "set his face towards Jerusalem" and go willingly to the capital where he was destined to die a horrible and unjust death.

How come the "pretty" Nativity became the utterly ugly Crucifixion?

Can it EVER make any sense?



  1. Sorry to hear about Mrs FBB, lets all hope she doesn`t have to wait too long for treatment.

  2. Sorry to hear about Mrs FBB, I appreciate what you are going through. My wife is scheduled for her hip replacement on New Year's Eve, fingers crossed! (Arnold Underwood NGS 1957-64)

  3. May I add my sympathies. My wife has suffered from arthritis for years and had a knee replacement some years ago although her hips aren't as bad as your wife's. The inactivity brought on by Covid hasn't helped. Hope you have as pain-free a Christmas as is possible.

  4. Hope you manage to keep Mrs FBB under control. Ladies are often loath to rest when needed. That's something men could teach them! And I pray that the op won't be too long in coming

  5. Best wishes to you both at a difficult time, and I hope the wait for treatment isn't too long.

    To clarify, the mecahnical stoker 9Fs were 92165-7. They went new to Saltley, and when transferred away stayed on the LMR. Unless there was a short term loan I'm unaware of, they never darkened the skies over Consett.

  6. Unlikely I would have thought - the Consett ones needed the air pump to operate the wagon doors. I suppose a "normal" one could have banked though.

  7. Slight correction- 92166 spent six months in 1959-60 at Cardiff Canton and Ebbw Junction. The BR database website confirms my comments re Consett.